Is Lemon Water Bad for Your Teeth?

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Is lemon water bad for your teeth?

You probably already know that lemon is an acidic fruit, and that acidic beverages and other acidic substances can cause enamel erosion. You probably also know that enamel is what protects your teeth against infections and decay.

On the other hand, you may have heard that drinking lemon water can offer all sorts of health benefits, including boosting the immune system, stimulating digestive enzymes and helping with weight loss.

So, what should you do? Should you ditch lemon water altogether, or is there a way to enjoy the health benefits without compromising your oral health? If you want answers, keep on reading.

Health benefits of warm lemon water

Kicking off the day with a glass of hot lemon water has become increasingly popular over the past few years.

A glass of warm lemon water first thing in the morning is not only tasty, it can also cleanse and detoxify the digestive system, stimulate digestive enzymes and make you feel refreshed and ready to face the day.

Lemon juice also gives your body a healthy dose of both potassium and vitamin C, which can improve your energy levels, help prevent kidney stones, and strengthen your overall immune system.

How lemon water can cause damage to your teeth

Unfortunately, your daily lemon water might be damaging to your teeth.

The reason for this is that lemon acidity can cause tooth enamel erosion over the cause of time. Enamel is the hard, protective layer that covers and protects your teeth against infection and decay. In other words, if the enamel on your teeth is weakened or worn away, your teeth will become much more vulnerable to cavities.

How to enjoy the benefits of lemon water without damaging your teeth

The good news is that you don’t have to choose between daily lemon water and strong and healthy teeth.

Instead, here are a few suggestions which, if you implement them, can help drastically reduce any damaging effects of lemon water on your teeth.

Use cold instead of hot water

For one, start using cold water instead of hot. 

Warm water is a much better solvent, which means that the acid content in a hot water lemon drink are much more potent. Cold lemon water still delivers the acids to your system, but is much gentler on your teeth.

Dilute more

Consider diluting your lemon juice more before you consume it. A taller glass with more water dilutes the citric acid and is every bit as refreshing.

Only use freshly squeezed lemon juice

Only use freshly squeezed lemon juice and avoid the commercial variety.

Use a straw to minimise contact with teeth

Drinking lemon water – and other acidic beverages for that matter, including fruit juices and alcoholic drinks – through a straw minimises contact between your teeth and the damaging acids.

Rinse your mouth with plain water

Rinsing your mouth thoroughly with cool, clean water can go a long way towards reducing the harmful impacts of acids on your teeth.

Plain water washes away any acids left on your teeth after drinking the lemon water. Water also cleanses your month and stimulates saliva production, which is good for protecting and remineralising your teeth.

Wait 2 hours before brushing your teeth

You should always avoid brushing your teeth right after drinking sodas, lemon juice or any other acidic beverages, as this can weaken the enamel further, so wait at least two hours between drinking lemon water and brushing your teeth.

You can learn much more about the optimal oral hygiene routine right here.

Frequently asked questions

Does lemon water rot your teeth?

No, lemon water does not rot your teeth.

However, drinking lemon water can erode your enamel, which can leave your teeth more vulnerable to decay. 

What are the disadvantages of drinking lemon water?

The primary disadvantage to drinking lemon water is that it can cause damage to your teeth.

Acidic beverages, including lemon water, are known to erode tooth enamel over time, which can cause tooth sensitivity while also leaving your teeth much more exposed to infection and decay.

Final thought on drinking lemon water

Lemon water provides so many wonderful health benefits that it would be a shame to have to give it up completely. Fortunately, you don’t have to. You can have both strong and healthy teeth, and drink lemon water on a daily basis.

Instead of ditching your daily glass of lemon water altogether, we recommend making a few adjustments to the way you consume it. Most importantly, swap the hot water for cold, use a straw, and wait two hours after drinking lemon water before brushing your teeth.

Dr Febin Mary George - Editor

With more than 10 years as a dental surgeon, Dr Febin Mary George is passionate about educating consumers around the world to help look after their teeth.

She completed her Bachelor of Surgery at the Century Institute of Dental Science and Research Centre in 2010.

Alongside editing the International Journal of Dental Clinics she has also written for major publications including Thrive Global.